Monday, September 10, 2012
If I Was King.....
1) If I was the omniscient all powerful ruler of the NHL and could unilaterally impose my will on making a new CBA here are a few of what I'd consider common sense ideas I'd include in the new deal.
a) Make it LONG! Stop with the 5-7 year crap. Make it 12-15 years with a few 'out clauses' that one side could invoke with the agreement of an independent arbitrator, for minor adjustments caused by economic strife/success, but to go through this nonsense every few years is insane
b) Limit contract length, but to either 10 years or NOT above age 40 which ever is larger. Additionally, reduce the discrepancy of annual salary between years to a reasonable number. Lets say no less than 75% of the previous season, so one year you can make 10 mil the next no less than 7.5
c) Eliminate rookie salary cap. It made sense years ago when it was first started to limit rookies from holding out before signing their first NHL contract when there wasn't a league wide salary cap. So today its redundant to have one soly for entry level players. Perhaps no arbitration for the first 3 seasons
d) Adjust the free agency a bit. 26 is a tad too young to be eligible for full UFA. 28 or 8 years in the league which ever is larger, makes more sense. Also adjust the RFA issue. Right now they are not really 'free'. Adjust the compensation to possibly include players that could be agreed upon through an independent arbiter.
e) Allow a (limited) amount of cap space to be traded. This would help the lower revenue teams to get something in return for having a low payroll. Perhaps a high draft pick or young player to get the fans excited about, and the other team can bolster its roster for a Cup run, etc. WE like flexibility.
f) Olympic participation is a no-brainer. Hard to say how much its helped the product brand, but it can't hurt, especially when the games are played in North America/Europe where all the players are from.
2) Most importantly, with regard to the "economic issues.
a) A 50:50 split. Yes all sides lose here, but its a fair slice of the pie for each. However, huge caveat here. ALL hockey related revenue would be included here. All money each team makes from running the team is factored into this. Ticket sales, to merchandise, to concessions/parking. ALL OF IT! Additionally, there would be an agreed upon independent auditor who would have full authority/access to look into the books of any team, at any time and determine if they are giving a full/accurate accounting of their income so the salary cap can be accurately set each season.
b) Full partnership to decide where franchises should be located. If the players are indeed 'partners', as Bettman loved to say, then they should be allowed to participate in this inportant process. They already are partnered (in the process anyway) in making rules changes.
c) Meaningful revenue sharing. If the NHL wants to have teams in small/(non traditional) markets then they should be prepared to share the wealth around (to use an unfortunate phrase of a failed politician). That means a more NFL-like system to assist/share money from the big money teams(Toronto/Philly/NY/Montreal,etc, with the less well off teams ike Dallas, TB, Fla, etc. We believe this would also spur owners to perhaps rethink those teams existance or location if they were forced to help fund them.
3) Do we believe these changes will ever happen? Probably not, but in my opinion if the NHL and NHLPA were able to see that they would make everyone hugely (more) rich they would/should. We wouldn't lose another season, we'd have stable teams everywhere and there would be no future work stoppages potentually ruining another season of hockey. Bonus: Gary Bettman could retire! ;)